Cyndi and Sam from Lewes were over the moon when she delivered two healthy identical twin girls, Isabelle (Izzy) and Olivia. Even though the twins were born at 30 weeks, the doctors assured their parents they were healthy baby girls. However, as their parents watched them grow, Cyndi noticed that Izzy was not meeting her milestones like her sister. She pushed for answers even though everyone insisted things were fine, and that is when she found Easter Seals, the light at the end of her tunnel.
“Easter Seals met my needs by validating my feelings that something wasn’t right. They listened to me. Know your child. If you know something is wrong, fight for it. Easter Seals is the place to start,” Cyndi says. “They met Izzy’s needs. Easter Seals took a 1-year-old who couldn’t do anything for herself and gave her independence. She has made significant strides with Easter Seals.”
Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Izzy was unable to speak, sit up, eat foods other than pureed foods, or play with her sister when she started with Easter Seals. She also was very afraid of anyone she did not know. After being with Easter Seals for just a couple of months, Izzy said her first word, “Mommy,” which melted Cyndi’s heart.
“Before speech therapy with Easter Seals, Izzy didn’t speak or form words,” Cyndi says. “Now she won’t stop talking, which is great! Now she can express her needs, where before she would get frustrated. The therapy allowed her to have her own voice, which is amazing. I love all the therapists. I know they have plenty of children they treat, but it’s like Izzy is the only child they are treating. They don’t treat Izzy different because of her disability, and neither do we. We treat her just like Olivia. They treat her like any other child.”
Easter Seals worked with Izzy’s fear of strangers by going to her house, taking it slow and having consistent therapists. She is now comfortable with the therapists, who have become like family over the last couple of years. Now at age 2 1/2, with speech, physical and occupational therapies, Izzy is able to talk, sit up, walk with the assistance of a gait trainer (a device that gives Izzy support at her hips, allowing her to walk) and is working on building muscle strength to one day walk with a walker. She has also recently obtained a power wheelchair to further increase her independence.
“The therapists work with Izzy to get her to be a kid, play and be like everyone else. Therapy makes her life easier and helps her do things by herself,” Cyndi says. “She has a power wheelchair and knows how to drive it. She will run you right over. It gives her the freedom to go play hide and seek. Izzy is so special and smart. She’s such a happy person. She surprises us every day, so we don’t ever cut her short.”
Izzy is one of this year’s ambassadors for Easter Seals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore’s second annual Walk With Me Delmarva event, scheduled for 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 19, at Baywood Greens, 32267 Clubhouse Way, Long Neck. It will unite hundreds of participants to raise funds for Easter Seals services in order to impact the lives of local individuals and families living with disabilities. Registration for this year’s Walk With Me is now available at www.walkwithme.org/delmarva or by contacting Linda Forte at 302-253-1100, Ext.1121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A trusted provider of children’s therapy services for more than 65 years, Easter Seals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore specializes in treating children ages birth through 18 years with a variety of challenges, including developmental delay, autism spectrum disorders, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, speech and language delay, feeding and swallowing difficulties, and others. To learn more about how Easter Seals helps children and adults with disabilities, call 1-800-677-3800 or go to www.de.easterseals.com.